Advertisement
  1. News

Q&A: How are death row inmates treated differently from regular prisoners?

Published Feb. 5, 2012

A primer on death row inmates

It seems to me that when it takes 22 years to carry out a death sentence there must be something wrong with our judicial system. When a governor signs the death decree, do all appeals cease? Do inmates on death row get visitors other than legal counsel? What are the restrictions as opposed to regular prisoners?

The Florida Department of Corrections has a comprehensive fact sheet online about death row inmates ( www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow). Among the facts gleaned from the website:

• Death row inmates are kept in a cell 6 feet by 9 feet by 9.5 feet high. When a death warrant is signed, the inmate is moved to a cell 7 feet by 12 feet by 8.5 feet high.

• Men on death row are imprisoned at the Florida State Prison in Starke and the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford. The women on death row are at the Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Lowell.

• Signing of a death warrant does not halt appeals. The DOC has people on duty up to the moment of execution in case a stay is issued.

• All visitors must be approved. For information about visiting days and hours, contact the classification officer at the assigned facility.

• Inmates are fed three times a day: at 5 a.m., between 10:30-11 a.m. and between 4-4:30 p.m. They get a "spork" for a utensil. Prior to execution an inmate may request a last meal. It can't cost more than $40 and must be purchased locally.

• Prisoners may shower every other day.

• Death row inmates are counted hourly. They are escorted in handcuffs and wear them everywhere except in their cells, the exercise yard and the shower. They stay in their cells except for medical issues, visits, exercise time or interviews with the media. When a death warrant is signed, the inmate may have a legal and social phone call.

• Prisoners get mail daily except for holidays and weekends. They are permitted to have snacks, radios and 13-inch TVs, but no cable. They cannot use any form of tobacco. They do not have air-conditioning. While on death watch, they are permitted to have radios and TVs outside their cells bars.

• Death row inmates are under closer supervision and do not get out of their cells as often as the non-death row inmates.

• The average stay on death prior to execution is 12.91 years. As of Feb. 1, there are 395 people on death row — 235 white men, 143 black men, 13 other men, one white woman, one black woman and two other women.

• While several inmates went to death row earlier, Gary Alvord has been on death row the longest continuous time — since April 9, 1974. Alvord, 62, murdered Lynn Herrmann, 18; her mother Ann Herrmann, 36; and her grandmother Georgia Tully, 53, in their Tampa home in 1973.

• The next up for execution is Robert Waterhouse, who is scheduled to die at 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Waterhouse, 65, was convicted in the 1980 murder of Deborah Kammerer, 29, in St. Petersburg.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, accused of stabbing and killing John Travlos and Germana Morin aboard their houseboat in 2013, testified on his own behalf at his murder trial in Pinellas County this week. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    It took the jury about four hours to find Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria guilty. Next they must decide whether to send him to Florida’s death row.
  2. Harold Fritz, 75, was awarded the nation's highest and rarest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in 1969. The Army lieutenant saved his platoon during an ambush in the Vietnam war. He spoke to students at Farnell Middle School in Tampa. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times
    Harold Fritz wanted to talk about teachers’ salaries and education. The kids wanted selfies with one of the 71 living recipients of the nation’s highest honor.
  3. PDQ's new Trinity location features a self-serve sauce bar with seven signature sauces perfect for dipping chicken tenders. Courtesy of PDQ
    Both chains are expanding locally and held grand opening celebrations this month with giveaways and free food.
  4. Casey Cane has resigned as chair of Pinellas County’s Housing Finance Authority in the wake of a Tampa Bay Times story about his failure to disclose an arrest for a financial felony when he was 19. He also serves as a Palm Harbor fire commissioner. Casey Cane
    Casey Cane failed to disclose his arrest for a financial felony in 2006. He said he didn’t think he had to reveal that information.
  5. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor speaks to about 75 people Tuesday at a city conference on innovation and collaboration. (City of Tampa photo by Janelle McGregor) Janelle McGregor
    City Hall brought together startups and the nonprofits that nurture them for a discussion of possible ideas to improve city operations and service.
  6. Scott Purcell, a senior geophysicist with GeoView, left, and Mike Wightman, president of GeoView, use ground-penetrating radar to scan a portion of King High School campus in search for Ridgewood Cemetery. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Preliminary answers from the ground-penetrating radar could come as soon as next week.
  7. A federal judge gas stayed the Nov. 7 execution of death row inmate James Dailey, 73, for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. Tampa Bay Times
    Dailey was set to be put to death Nov. 7. A judge ordered his execution to be postponed to give his attorneys time to present their claims. But the state can appeal.
  8. Markeith Loyd, suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer, attends his initial court appearance Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, at the Orange County Jail, in Orlando, Fla. Loyd spoke out of turn and was defiant during the appearance on charges of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend. He was injured during his arrest Tuesday night following a weeklong manhunt.
    The same jury found Loyd guilty last week of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting 24-year-old Sade Dixon outside her home in 2016.
  9. The new owner of a dilapidated mobile home park on Gandy Boulevard has sued the city of Tampa over a record-setting fine levied against the property for a massive tree removal in August. [CHARLIE FRAGO | Times]
    A Gandy Boulevard mobile home park owner is suing the city of Tampa over a record $420,000 fine .
  10. Dashboard camera video shows a Tampa police cruiser pursuing Dusharn Weems through a parking lot. A second later, Weems is fatally injured when the car strikes him. Courtesy Haydee Oropesa
    The family of Dusharn Weems, 23, claims an officer intentionally struck him after he was spotted driving a stolen car.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement